After not getting any books in from the library forever, I got a million at once. I'm not exaggerating. The librarians had to give Shane a bag to cart them all home. I haven't even done my usual best books of December library request because so many books! So little time!
Leaving Time: A Novel
I keep reading Jodi Picoult books because I remember when she first started writing, her books were new and refreshing and engaging. Now they follow the John Grisham script where the characters aren't that engaging, but you keep reading for the plot twist. And then I get so hung up in the plot twist that it's all I focus on. In this book, I failed to guess the plot twist. Shame on me. This book focuses on Jenna, an adolescent girl who spends most of her life obsessing over her mother, who disappeared after a fatal and tragic accident at the elephant preserve ran by her mother and father. Having abandoned hope of her mother turning up on the internet, Jenna does two things: she hires a private investigator (the man who worked her mother's case) and a psychic. Although Jenna stumbles into the psychic's house, she learns later that the psychic was once famous for missing persons' cases, until she failed to find a famous politician's son while he was still leaving. This book bounces between the perspective of Jenna, the psychic, the PI and Jenna's mother. It was enjoyable to just read, but as usual, I felt the characters lacked depth because they were all just a set up for the grand plot twist at the end.
This book is told through letters from Zoe to a death row inmate, Stuart Harris. She doesn't know him, instead she picks his name at random. She writes to tell him that they have something in common--she has also killed someone she loved. The letters build up to the anniversary of this someone's death, though you aren't really sure until the end just who she killed and how. I loved the ambiguity--does Stuart respond to her letters? Does anyone ever find out what truly happened? This was a really good, engaging read.
All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry (2013) Hardcover
Set during Puritan times, this book tells the story of Judith. Judith disappeared along with her best friend. Two years later, only Judith returned--missing her tongue. Seen as an outcast and a fallen woman by the town, no one speaks to Judith. No one calls her by name. She is unable and afraid to attempt to speak with her mutilated mouth. Instead, she narrates the novel mostly through her thoughts and silent observations. A tragic event forces Judith to find her voice and to begin to try to speak her story. This one gripped me. It was equal parts awful and hopeful.
The Wicked Girls: A Novel
Two 11 year old girls meet for the first time. At the end of the day, they will have killed a child. 25 years later, the two girls are brought together again as a serial killer stalks a small seaside town. Although they are court ordered by law to keep apart from one another and although no one knows their true identities, the two girls--now women--are forced to choose how they will keep their secrets hidden. I liked this book, although I guessed the identity of the serial killer a little too easily. Still, it was a twisting story, one that raised a lot of questions about crime and punishment.
I love coming of age stories. Coming of age stories in a slightly medically advanced world where head transplants are a thing? Even better. Travis Coates was dying of cancer, so he chose to have his head cryogenically frozen. Five years later, he comes back to life with his head attached to a new body. He feels like no time has passed at all. Only, it has. His best friend is in college and not who he thought he'd be. His girlfriend is now engaged to someone else. And Travis, Travis is a sixteen year old who doesn't understand how things changed the way they did. This is not a book about science or about a dystopian world, even. It's a book about a boy trying to fit in, with just one little twist.
Countdown (Sixties Trilogy)
Book one of the Sixties trilogy. Franny Chapman is an 11 year old girl in 1962, facing problems from atomic bomb drills at school to getting the boy across the street to notice her. Interwoven with Franny's stories are newspaper articles, photographs and movie clips from this time period, which I loved. The author managed to weave history and fiction seamlessly together, in a very interesting way. I admittedly don't know much about the Cuban Missile Crisis, but this book mapped out a great portion of it--while being engaging and making me want to read more! I'm on book 2 of the trilogy and love it.
What are you reading?